The first step is to rest your arm and avoid the activity that causes your symptoms for at least 2 - 3 weeks. You may also want to:
- Put ice on the outside of your elbow 2 - 3 times a day.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin).
If your tennis elbow is due to sports activity, you may want to:
- Ask about any changes you can make in your technique.
- Check any sports equipment you are using to see if any changes may help. If you play tennis, changing your grip size of the racket may help.
- Think about how often you have been playing and whether you should cut back.
If your symptoms are related to working on a computer, ask your manager about making changes to your work station or have someone look at how you chair, desk, and computer are set up.
An occupational therapist can show you exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your forearm.
You can buy a special brace for tennis elbow at most drug stores. It wraps around the upper part of your forearm and takes some of the pressure off the muscles.
Your doctor may also inject cortisone and a numbing medicine around the area where the tendon attaches to the bone. This may help decrease the swelling and pain.
If the pain continues after 6 - 12 months of rest and treatment, surgery may be recommended. Talk with your orthopedic surgeon about the risks, and whether surgery might help.